Frequency-dependent flight activity in the colour polymorphic wood tiger moth
Rojas Zuluaga, B., Gordon, S., & Mappes, J. (2015). Frequency-dependent flight activity in the colour polymorphic wood tiger moth. Current Zoology, 61 (4), 765-772. Retrieved from http://www.currentzoology.org/paperdetail.asp?id=12519
Published inCurrent Zoology
DisciplineEkologia ja evoluutiobiologia
© 2015 Current Zoology. This is an open access article published by Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Zoology.
Predators efficiently learn to avoid one type of warning signal rather than several, making colour polymorphisms unexpected. Aposematic wood tiger moth males Parasemia plantaginis have either white or yellow hindwing coloration across Europe. Previous studies indicate that yellow males are better defended from predators, while white males have a positively frequency-dependent mating advantage. However, the potential frequency-dependent behavioural differences in flight between the morphs, as well as the role of male-male interactions in inducing flying activity, have not been previously considered. We ran an outdoor cage experiment where proportions of both male morphs were manipulated to test whether flying activity was frequencydependent and differed between morphs. The white morph was significantly more active than the yellow one across all treatments, and sustained activity for longer. Overall activity for both morphs was considerably lower in the yellow-biased environment, suggesting that higher proportions of yellow males in a population may lead to overall reduced flying activity. The activity of the yellow morph also followed a steeper, narrower curve than that of the white morph during peak female calling activity. We suggest that white males, with their presumably less costly defences, have more resources to invest in flight for predator escape and finding mates. Yellow males, which are better protected but less sexually selected, may instead compensate their lower flight activity by ‘flying smart’ during the peak female-calling periods. Thus, both morphs may be able to behaviourally balance the trade-off between warning signal selection and sexual selection. Our results emphasize the greater need to investigate animal behaviour and colour polymorphisms in natural or semi-natural environments [Current Zoology 61 (4): 765–772, 2015]. ...
PublisherChinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Zoology